Claudia Havranek published 'food expert' in Usborne's 100 Things to Know About Food

Wed May 10th, 2017

To see the bigger ideas that have fuelled my research presented in a way that would make a 9 year old excited is fantastic – it’s a reminder of the relevance of the research conducted in Plant Sciences.

Recently, DPhil student Claudia Havranek was named 'food expert' in 100 Things to Know About Food, an exciting book filled with infographics aimed at children aged 9+, published by Usborne. We asked Claudia to tell us a little bit more about her experience: 

"One of the great things about being in Oxford, and doing research, is the chance to communicate it. I had been doing my D.Phil. for just over a year, when someone who I studied with as an undergraduate in Biological Sciences (Alice James, Brasenose, matriculated 2011) sent me an email. She’s now working for Usborne Publishing, as a writer and editor. Alice had read about my research on the Oxford Martin Schools “Future of Food” website, and asked me to be one of the experts that checks if the facts published in Usborne Publishing’s books are completely correct.

Alice was working on a book 100 Things to Know About Food, a non-fiction children’s book, aimed at 9+ years. She sent me through a few sample pages to read through, and I loved the infographics. I find infographics a really exciting way of communicating facts, they can make really complex ideas make sense, and I think it was done well in this book.

For the next year I was then sent pages on a regular basis. I read through them, commented on them, and debated how the information was presented. I have quite a lot of teaching experience, though not to students below the age of 16. Even to 16 year olds, you can see how the right thing said in the wrong way can impact what children take away. It was good to have the opportunity to think about how to communicate sciences to different age groups effectively.

There are a few pages which are my favourites, but I’d have so single out “One Plant Feeds Half the Planet“, which explains that rice is the staple diet for half the global population. For my D.Phil. I’m working on agriculture and conservation, so the idea of building in resilience to the global food system is something I think about every day. To see the bigger ideas that have fuelled my research presented in a way that would make a 9 year old excited is fantastic – it’s a reminder of the relevance of the research conducted in Plant Sciences.

The opportunity to go beyond the academic sphere, to communicate my passion of food science to a different audience has been great. I’ve also enjoyed following the book publishing process. When I received a copy of the book, “write a book” was swiftly added to my list of things to do."